With every bit of dirty Sex appeal, sweaty wine- soaked bodies and swashbuckling musicians, Gogol Bordello is a group of story-telling scallywags. Their performance, dare I say act, invites you into a world of lust and pain. Just ask the gnarly bruise on my shin from too much moshing and crowd surfing. The crowd at a Gogol Bordello show, though rough, is also the most epic assortment of people I have ever seen at a show. This is partly due to their genre which is projected as gypsy punk.
What is gypsy punk anyway? Imagine taking an eastern European string band, epic storytellers, and the attitude of punk rockers and plugging it all into giant amplifiers while also handing the front-man a bottle of wine. Paint this image into your head and you’ve got the idea of gypsy punk. Dare I also mention that in true fashion, they are never in one place for long as they are persistently on tour. Gogol Bordellos mission is to bring traditional Eastern European/gypsy music to America and according to the show on Sunday, March 24th, 2019 at The Masquerade, the idea has been very well received.
The show itself held a nostalgic ambiance that transported the crowd to a different time and place. Music as a language is universal and even though some lyrics aren’t in English, the messages behind the words are clear. The elements and characters as a whole blended themselves together in a timeless coalescence as the reaction from the crowd was uproarious. Front-man Eugene whirled red wine across the crowd while the essence of a good time sprinkled with a bit of carelessness came seeping from inside the pit of the crowd as the sea of sweaty bodies fell into each other and writhed in the current of passion and excitement.
As traveling musicians, the exhaustion from the members was evident but their passion shone through. Lightboxes lined the stage ready to ignite whoever stepped on it. The effect was haunting as the show opened with Through the Roof and Underground. A wise choice as the show continuously picked up momentum until the first notes of Start Wearing Purple were heard serving as the peak eruption of excitement. Exhausted and needing a fresh beer, the lull before the encore was lengthy but necessary for not only the band to regroup but for the crowd to catch their breath.
Gogol Bordello is a band that not only melds together, but crosses boundaries of genres, but they bring together a variety of people, most kids, punks, folk listeners, and rock fans. All merging into one uproarious celebration of good music.
Photos by Sarah Htun for Bullet Music